Defense attorney admits client raped, fatally stabbed woman in 1988
A public defender Monday morning admitted during opening statements that his client raped and stabbed a woman to death in Costa Mesa in 1988.
"This is a horrible case; you don't have to make it worse than it already is," deputy public defender Thomas J. Lo told the jury at his client's murder trial in Santa Ana's Central Justice Center. "Hold him accountable for what he did, and only what he did."
What prosecutors allege, and Lo acknowledged to the jury, was that Jason Balcom walked into Malinda and Kent Gibbons' apartment on July 18, 1988, and sodomized and killed her while her husband was at work.
Balcom, now 41, is charged with murder during the commission of sodomy, rape, robbery and burglary.
Prosecutors allege Balcom choked and tied up the 22-year-old, six-weeks pregnant newlywed with her husband's ties and belts before raping her on her bedroom carpet and stabbing her in the heart.
Balcom stole her wedding ring and purse after the slaying, prosecutors said. He faces a possible death sentence if convicted.
--Joseph Serna, Times Community News